Speaker Loudder: ''Affirmative Action at Its Best''

Speaker of the Texas A&M Faculty Senate Martha Loudder responds via

email to questions from the Texas Civil Rights Review. The questions try to fill in the details of a

timeline. Near the end of the email, Loudder looks forward to good news from this year’s recruiting

efforts and argues that the Gates plan is best for the University. See Loudder’s complete reply

below.

TCRR:
A Report from the Committee on Minority Conditions recommends, “that

each year the Speaker of the Faculty Senate discuss the results/recommendations of this report with the

President, Vice Presidents and with the Board
of

Regents.”

http://www.tamu.edu/faculty_senate/MC02Report.PDF

Q: Will you

be able to follow the recommendation this year? Would you please share details of dates, persons, and

materials?

LOUDDER:
A: The following recommendations were made:
June 2002

RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE FACULTY SENATE SUBCOMMITTEE ON MINORITY
CONDITIONS AT TEXAS A&M

UNIVERSITY
Summary of Recommendations
* Increase financial assistance to undergraduate and

graduate students to fulfill the University’s mission in the state of Texas.
* Provide

additional funding for increasing the total faculty.
* Create the office of Vice President for

Diversity with sufficient funding to make a difference in the recruiting, hiring, and retention of

minority faculty.
* Recognize and reward Colleges for aggressively recruiting, hiring, and

retaining minority scholars. This recognition and the rewards would include but not
necessarily be

limited to above average merit raises for Deans, Department Heads and other
administrators who

increase diversity in units under their supervision.

These recommendation had been made

every year since I have been involved in the Faculty Senate. It was only when Dr. Gates came to Texas

A&M in
September 2002 that any of them were seriously considered by the administration. Every single

one of them has been implemented. Dr. Frank Ashley (Director of Admissions) can provide more on the

first and third. Dean Jane Conoley can tell you more about the other

two.

TCRR:
According to the minutes of the Faculty Senate on Sept. 8, 2003, there

were four members listed for the Undergraduate Admissions Advisory

Committee.

http://www.tamu.edu/faculty_senate/minutes/sep2003.html

Q:

I’m not clear on the context for the four names.
Are they new to the committee? What was the

process the produced those names?

LOUDDER:
A: They are a number of standing

committees in the university. The faculty senate appoints one or more to them when there are vacancies.

The “Committee
on Committees” is charged with this duty. It consists of senators from each college

who are elected by their college senate caucuses.

TCRR:
The admissions committee

list was updated on Oct. 8.

http://www.tamu.edu/faculty_senate/DIR-

UnivAdm.PDF

Q: Would it be fair to report that the list was “finalized” on Oct. 8?

LOUDDER:
A: I believe that this is the composition of the current committee.

TCRR:
According to minutes of the Nov. 10 meeting of the Faculty Senate, a

report was approved and accepted from the Undergraduate Admissions Advisory Committee

[FS.21.56],

http://www.tamu.edu/faculty_senate/1208-A.PDF

Q: When this

proposal was approved by the Faculty Senate, was there any discussion about the significance of the

report in terms of affirmative
action?

LOUDDER:
A: Yes, there was a rather

spirited discussion about it. Dr. Mark Weichold and Dr. Frank Ashley were present to explain the

proposal and answer questions. Some of our faculty members were very dissappointed that the admissions

changes did not include race as an admissions factor. However, a large majority was satisfied that the

plan would have the desired
effect of increasing diversity.

As you know, we decided

to focus on our two major impediments to diversity: (1) only about 40% of the African Americans

admitted actually enroll, and (2)our inability to compete with substantial scholarships. There seems to

be a general, but certainly not unanimous, agreement that waiting until Fall 2005 (the earliest date

that admissions criteria changes can be adopted) is not the best strategy.

We

implemented a plan in December to recruit minority applicants in much the same fashion as we recruit

athletes…one at a time, aggressively. It
involves current and former students, faculty and

administrators. My own Dean (Business) made phone calls to over 90 prospects during the

holidays.
The President has worked to insure an additional 2,200 full scholarships, with over half

of them going to minority students. It’s too early to start bragging but early reports look like we

are making progress.

In my opinion, Greg, this is affirmative action at its best —

providing both active outreach and the financial means for minority students to come
to Texas A&M.

IT HAS NOT OCCURRED IN PREVIOUS YEARS (caps intentional)!

I have worked in the civil

rights movement since the Sixties, and was even an Affirmative Action Officer in an earlier life.

Accordingly, I was an advocate of considering race in admissions when we started this process last

summer. However I have become convinced of two things: first, we have a president who is personally and

deeply committed to improving diversity at TAMU, and second, he has the courage to do what he believes

is right for this university, even if he has to take a lot of heat over it.

I can see

that you care a great deal about this school, and I hope that you will tell your readers about our

efforts and our successes.

TCRR:
The report of the admissions committee was

approved by the President within four days.

http://www.tamu.edu/faculty_senate/Pending-

President.PDF

Q: In what form does the FS receive notice that a report has been approved

by the President?

LOUDDER:
A: Usually a letter comes from him to me.

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